Think about it. How many of us could survive without the help of both federal and state government? All of us, regardless of income, directly benefit in some way from federal and state programs controlled by the government and isn't that the definition of socialism? How many of those would we be willing to give up to become non-socialists?
A report released Monday in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine shows that half of us have lived in families that received food stamps at some time in our lives by the age of 20. Food stamps are a federal program utilized by more than 20 million Americans at a cost of about $20 billion, yes, billion, a year.
And, despite the old caveat that there's no such thing, about 30.5 million children receive free or reduced price lunches through the National School Lunch Program at an annual cost last year of $9.3 billion.
What do we say to all of those kids who would go hungry without the benefit of those programs? Let them eat cake? Let's not lose our heads here.
And what about the more than half a million children in Mississippi, not to mention the elderly, who are eligible for federal health insurance plans already (without a "public option" in health care reform) for assistance from programs like CHIP and Medicare and Medicaid? Do we want to do away with those as well to avoid being labeled as socialists?
And speaking of social, if there's anyone out there who's willing to give up their share of the government's almost $600 billion a year in spending on Social Security, remember it's Marty with a "y" when you sign your check over to me.
Do you drive? Think the states alone could build and maintain highways without federal assistance? Fact is, we can barely do it with federal assistance which will amount to about $80 billion this year alone. Want to give that up as well?
And what about the farmers? Remember that it was a peasant revolt that brought about socialism in Russia. Think there are many farmers out there who would be willing to give up federal assistance in the form of more than $14 billion a year in subsidies that basically pay farmers not to grow things? Doubt it.
So before we start screaming socialism because somebody is tinkering with the health care system, maybe we ought to stop and consider where we would be without government assistance and just what we would be giving up to shed, not become, a socialist nation.
Marty Russell writes a Wednesday column for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at 222 Farley Hall, University MS 38677 or by e-mail at email@example.com.